St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology
 Italy Pilgrimage 
Group Leader: Matthew Leonard 
Executive Director of St. Paul Center
March 9 - 19, 2015   |   $4,499 from New York
Fares from other US or Canada Airports

Matthew Leonard is an internationally known speaker, author, and Executive Director of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology (founded by Dr. Scott Hahn).

A convert to Catholicism and former missionary to Latin America, Matthew is a frequent guest on radio programs across the country and appears on EWTN, Shalom Media, and the Magnificat. He is the host of the Journey Through Scripture video series and is a featured speaker by Lighthouse Catholic Media. Matthew also holds a Masters in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. In addition to numerous articles, he is the author of two books, "Louder Than Words: The Art of Living as a Catholic" and "Prayer Works! Getting A Grip On Catholic Spirituality" both published through Our Sunday Visitor.

"I'm not exaggerating. Not since Fulton Sheen have I heard a speaker so effective at motivating ordinary Catholics to step up their prayer lives and take their faith more seriously."
Mike Aquilina - EWTN
Personality & author
of more than 30 books

"When Matt Leonard talks, I'm all ears because he's all heart. If there's one thing I know it's rock 'n' roll, and this guy knows how to rock a bunch of Catholics. His words change hearts."
Dion Dimucci
Rock-n-Roll Hall of Famer

800-206-TOUR (8687)
mon - fri
9am - 5pm EST

Round Trip Airfare
*Fares from other US or Canada Airports
You may book without airfare (land only option)

9 nights in Superior First Class Hotels: (or similar)
     ~ 4 nights: Visconti Palace – Rome
     ~ 2 nights: Grand Hotel Paradiso – San Giovanni Rotondo
     ~ 3 nights: Giotto - Assisi
Breakfast and Dinner Daily
Wine and mineral water with Dinners
Round Trip Transfers from airport to hotel
Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
Assistance of a professional tour escort throughout
Sightseeing with local guides & admissions fees
Evening Lectures with Matthew Leonard
Mass Daily
Rome City Tax
Tips and Gratuities: (Hotels/Restaurant/Luggage Handling)   

† Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents

Travel Insurance (, Extended Cancellation Protection Plan @ $299 (, Tips to your guide & driver, Items of personal nature

Not Included:
Lunches, Tips to your guide & driver, Items of personal nature

Sample Day-by-Day Itinerary:

Day 1: Mon – March 9 – Depart for Italy
Departure in the evening from New York, or from your hometown, for the overnight flight to Rome. Dinner and breakfast will be served on board.


Day 2: Tue – March 10 - Arrive Rome
Upon arrival at Rome airport, you will be met by your professional tour escort and transferred by a motor coach to our hotel. Take time to rest or explore prior to dinner and overnight.
(Welcome Meeting)


Day 3: Wed – March 11 – Mass at St. Peters Basilica and Vatican Museum Tour 
Wake up in the Eternal City, one of the greatest centers of Western Civilization and the first truly cosmopolitan city on earth! It is also spiritual capital for all the Catholics around the world. This morning you will prepare for today, which will be in our minds for many years to come. We will make our way to St. Peter’s Square to attend the Papal Audience, led by His Holiness, Pope Francis. (Papal Audience: Is scheduled to take place every Wednesday, pending the schedule of Pope Francis). Following the audience, we go visit the Vatican Museums, a group of the most impressive edifices with hundreds of galleries filled with art treasures. See awe-inspiring relics and works of art donated throughout centuries as tributes of faith. We'll cover The Tapestry Gallery, The Raphael Rooms, and the most overwhelming Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's Masterpiece, restored mural of the Last Judgment. Later, enter the largest church in Christendom, St Peter's Basilica, built on the site where St Peter was martyred. Unsurpassed in beauty, a monument to the long history of the Catholic Church, to which pilgrims come from around the world, St Peter's is the grandest of the world's churches. Marvel Pieta and Bernini's amazing bronze canopy. Pope Francis visited the tomb of St. Peter, following his elevation, for a visit of devotion that lasted 45 minutes. He is the first pontiff to visit the necropolis since extensive archaeological excavations were conducted at the ancient site decades ago. We will also visit the grave of Saint John Paul II located at the Vatican. Stop for lunch, and then we will have the remainder of the day free to spend at your own leisure. Dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Thu – March 12 - Full Day of Touring Christian Rome
This morning we depart for a sightseeing tour entitled "Christian Rome" which includes: the Basilica of St. Mary Major, one of the oldest shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, a shrine that contains a relic from the manger of the infant Jesus. We continue on to the Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs), famous for being the steps that led up to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem, which Jesus Christ stood on during his Passion on his way to trial. Sixtus V had the steps transferred in 1589, to their present site, before the Sancta Santorum (Holy of Holies). Next, we will visit the Basilica of St. John the Lateran, the former residence of the popes prior to their return to Rome in 1377. It is also where Pope Francis was formally installed as Bishop of Rome, and where he honored the Saint John Paul II by arriving a half hour early to bless a plaque renaming a corner of the piazza outside the church after him. Stop for lunch, and then we will continue on to visit St Paul Outside the Walls, which houses the remains of St Paul under its main altar; and the Appian Way -- the oldest road from Roman times--plus the famous Domino Quo Vadis Chapel; see the ancient Baths of Lizcalla, Arch of Drusus; Tomb of Celilia Metella, and the catacombs of St Callixtus where the early Christians hid themselves to escape persecution. We will also visit to the Trevi Fountain. Dinner & overnight.


Day 5: Fri – March 13 - Half Day Ancient Rome Tour
Celebrate Pope Francis’s Second Anniversary as Holy Father With gratitude for his second year as the shepherd of our souls, and the 265th successor of Peter, let us pray that God may grant Pope Francis many more years of peace, health, and happiness, as he faithfully preaches the Word of His Truth! This morning we will tour Ancient Rome, starting with the Roman Forum. A rectangular plaza which is surrounded by the ruins of several ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. It was here, the center of Roman public life, where triumphal processions and elections took place, as well as public speeches, and criminal trials. We will then make our way to Palatine Hill, the centermost of the famous “Seven Hills of Rome”. From there, we will visit the Coliseum, the epicenter for Gladiatoral matches. The games reached their peak between the 1st century and the 2nd century, but declined by the 5th century after the adoption of Christianity as the state church of the Roman Empire in 380. You will have some time at leisure, to explore your own paths, to shop, stop for lunch, or just to sit in one of the outside cafes and watch the world go by. Return to your Hotel for dinner and overnight.


Day 6: Sat – March 14 - Rome – Monte Cassino – San Giovanni Rotondo
Following breakfast, we will head south and cross through the Roman countryside with its villas and vineyards. During your drive, your tour escort will explain the spiritual, historical, and cultural overview of Italy, which will help to orient you to this beautiful country and prepare you for all that you will experience in the days to follow. We stop at Monte Cassino, a beautiful town founded by Saint Benedict in 529. Enjoy lunch and then continue through the countryside heading east to Padre Pio’s town, San Giovanni Rotondo, our base for the following two nights. Dinner and overnight.


Day 7: Sun – March 15 – San Giovanni Rotondo 
After celebrating Mass at the tomb of Padre Pio, we tour the sanctuary, see the old church and the crucifix from which he received the stigmata in 1918. You will see the confessional where Padre Pio spent innumerable hours with a multitude of pilgrims, directing them on their journey toward God. You will have the remainder of the day fre for devotions, reflection, and overnight.


Day 8: Mon – March 16 – San Giovanni Rotondo – Lanciano – Assisi 
We will have breakfast at our hotel before we make our way to Lanciano, and visit the Church of St. Longinus where we will see the Eucharistic Miracle and celebrate Mass. It was here, as they celebrated the Latin Rite, a Basilian hieromonk was assigned to celebrate Mass. The monk had doubts about the real presence of Jesus Chris in the Holy Eucharist. With doubt in his voice, he said the “Words of Consecration” and the bread turned into living flesh, and the wine changed into live blood. The blood coagulated into five globules, corresponding to the wounds Christ suffered in each hand and foot on the cross, and the wound from the centurion’s spear. Enjoy lunch before we make our way to Assisi, the hometown of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment, and the founder of the Franciscan Order. We arrive in Assisi in time for dinner at our hotel.


Day 9: Tue – March 17 – Assisi (The Life of a Saint, that inspired a Holy Father) 
Today is a very special day, as we will spend a full day touring the home of the Saint that inspired our Holy Father. Pope Francis chose his name in admiration of the Saint of Nature and Servant to the Poor. Known for being a humble man himself, Pope Francis spent most of his life denying the luxuries of life, and preferring to live in simplicity and humility. Following breakfast, we will begin a tour of Assisi. Visit the tomb of St Francis. Explore the quaint hilltop birthplace of St Francis that still retains something of the atmosphere of the early 1200s, the period when St Francis began his ministry. Contained within the huge 13th-century Basilica are many of the saint's possessions and a series of frescoes depicting his life. You may kneel before the crucifix from which Jesus spoke to St Francis, asking him to rebuild His church. It was in St Mary of the Angels Basilica that St Francis spent most of his life. Here we visit the Chapel, Portiuncola, the rose bush, and the cave where the saint retired for prayer. Stroll the medieval streets of the compact little town. You will have some free time to shop or eat lunch at an outdoor cafe with a view of an ancient Roman temple until we continue on to the Church of St. Clare to see the saint's incorrupt body. The Foundress of the Order of Poor Clares followed the teachings of St Francis by living a life of poverty and humility. We will visit these two saints' tombs before dinner and retiring for the evening.


Day 10: Wed – March 18 – Assisi – Cascia - Assisi
After breakfast we will head south to Cascia, home of the Augustinian nuns, and the home of Saint Rita. Like Elizabeth Ann Seton, Saint Rita was a wife, mother, widow, and member of her religious community. While she wanted to become a nun, she was pressured into marrying at an early age. Eighteen years later, both her husband and two sons, passed away. Over the years, her austerity, prayerfulness, and charity became legendary. When she developed wounds on her forehead, they were quickly associated with the wounds from Christ’s crown of thorns. He tended to the stick nuns, and counseled lay people who came to the monastery. She was beatified in 1626, and canonized in 1900, and now known as the Saint of Impossible Cases. We travel back to Assisi for dinner and overnight.


Day 11: Thu – March 19 – Assisi - Rome – USA 
Following breakfast, we will board our bus that will bring us to Rome Airport for our return flights home. We will bid farewell to our new friends, and to a Pilgrimage which will be in our memories and hearts for a long time to come. We depart for Rome Airport and fondly say, Arrivederci Italia!



Single Supplement / Private Room $668
Business Class Trans-Atlantic Upgrade (one-way) - pending availability $1,750
Business Class Trans-Atlantic Upgrade (round trip) - pending availability $3,500
First Class available upon request
Children's discounts for children under 12 upon request
           *All Upgrades & Options will be available to you after you press the  button above*

Additional Information & Travel Tips:  What to Know Before You Go

Any Questions?
To Book or for information, contact: Sandra, Yaritza or Katherine tel: 800-206-TOUR (8687) or email:

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About Rome:
Rome has been one of history's most powerful and important cities, along with home to the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope, and the site of the Vatican City. First built in 337, St. Peter's Basilica lies over the tomb of St. Peter. Contained within is a vast array of the most beautiful artwork ever assembled, reflecting the immensity, beauty, vastness, majesty, glory and awesomeness of God.

Matthew Leonard - "Louder Than Words: The Art of Living As a Catholic"

His Holiness Pope Francis, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy

St. Peter's Square, Rome, Italy

Assisi Basilica, Assisi, Italy
Matthew Leonard Books

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St. Peters Basilica, Rome, Italy

His Holiness Pope Francis, Rome, Italy

Sistine Chapel, Vatican, Rome, Italy

Michelangelo's Pieta, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy

The Holy Stairs, The Vatican, Rome, Italy

Assisi Basilica, Assisi, Italy

San Damiano Cross, Assisi Italy

Padre Pio, San Giovanni Rotondo

Monte Cassino Abbey, Monte Cassino, Italy

Tomb of Padre Pio, San Giovanni Rotondo

Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, Lanciano, Italy

Saint Rita of Cascia Shrine, Cascia Italy

Tomb of Saint Rita of Cascia, Italy

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